Raising Litter Mates


Today was their first official outdoor adventure. Both Taro and Kratos impressed me with their behavior. I was starting to feel frustrated, because just recently, in the backyard it`s like I don`t exist, and I thought I was seriously doing something wrong.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Kratos and Taro's First Trip to the Park

I had a few things to take care of today, and there was no way I was going to be home within the hour, so I packed the boys up and took them with me. They slept all night, which meant I got to sleep all night, which made me very happy and functional.

I had ordered them in some new puppy kong/chew toys, so I was pretty excited about picking those up. I didn’t realize how much they would LOVE their chew toys, so I didn’t want to go super nuts in the beginning, but now I CAN go super nuts.

They start their private training sessions on Monday. Our trainer had suggested we take the puppies out to an area less frequented by other dogs and practice some of the commands we have been doing at home. I thought that was a great idea, and since their “sit” and “down” commands are coming along quite nicely, I thought today would be a good day to start. The reason for taking them to an area not visited by many dogs is because they are not fully vaccinated yet which means their little bodies may not be immune to most canine diseases.
I was actually going to wait for Stephen to come home from work - but on the way home, the boys had to go to the bathroom. I was trying to make it home quick but they were really barking up a storm and I was very close to the park that I wanted to take them to. This park I frequent quite a bit with Jordan, and yes, other dogs go there as well, but they have a fully enclosed tennis court which was pressure washed yesterday, so I knew it was going to be fairly clean, and usually people let their dogs loose in the park, not the tennis court.

Taro was the one who was barking up a storm, and indeed he had to pee and poop. I decided I was going to try a few commands. Both their recalls were great the first few days when they were in the backyard, but I think that now they have become more comfortable back there, they are using their “selective hearing” for the command “come” or “let’s go”. I gave it a shot in the court, and it worked!! Taro came running. Well then I just continued. So a few steps backwards.. call him and he came. We repeated this around the whole tennis court. The second time around I used some “sit” commands, every ten seconds or so I would ask him to “sit” which he did! Third time around I used the “sit” and “down” commands, and he performed EXCELLENTLY . He still needs work on his “down” but his “sit” is rewarding.
There was a dog running around the perimeter of the court, the owner and dog frequent the park often, so for me it was no big deal, but Taro thought it was fabulous! They sniffed each other through the fence, they ran back and forth with each other, and the whole time “Abby” the dog was there, Taro looked around to make sure I was still around. I tried to call him while he was being mesmerized by “Abby” and a few times he listened, but we need to work on it much much more. Needless to say, the man was VERY impressed with Taro and his progress for a nine week old puppies first “outdoor adventure”. Kratos was next.

After Taro looked exhausted, it was Kratos’s turn. He did awesome as well. Kratos is very different than Taro in that he doesn’t like the cuddles as much and he likes to try to do his own thing and keep to himself. I am working very hard with him, because I have figured out that if left alone, he doesn’t seem to mind too much, and will do whatever he wants to do. He impressed me greatly. He followed me around that tennis court and he did his “sits” and his “downs”. His “down” also needs work. Just last night i was telling Stephen how I thought Kratos hated me, and that he just isn’t responding as well as Taro is, and that maybe he should take a much more active role in training Kratos because he might respond to him better. Today, in that tennis court, he made me proud. He proved to me that when he is out of his “home environment” he will listen to me.

I was so excited I called Stephen at work and told him. We had made plans to take them again when he got home for a quick session at the tennis court. When we got there the tennis courts was occupied, and after much debate, we took them to another field, mostly fenced in, and usually occupied by high school football players. Stephen had brought the video camera, and Kratos did his thing, followed by Taro. When they were together, they wrestled around, but they still came when called, just a little more delayed. They still did excellent, together and separately. We still have a lot more training to do, and more practice of course, but I was very happy with their progress.

I have been working very hard with both these puppies, separately and together. I have read many articles and stories about raising littermates, and I have read both positive and negative opinions, and I will continue to do my best with these little guys, because I want to be able to prove that although its tough and very time consuming, it is possible. If anything, I think its fantastic that they have known each other since they were born, and what is even more spectacular is that we watched Taro being born!!
We were later informed that Kratos was the next puppy born, about an hour after Taro. Apparently we had just left before his birth.

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